Borage Gives You Courage

Woodside Farms, at Chickahominy Falls, Cornerstone’s Agri-community located in Hanover County is growing by leaps and bounds.   And that includes both homes and produce in the gardens!!   In addition to the garden that supplies the homeowners and the weekly Farmer’s Market that is open to the public, we now have a “Pick Your Own” area that is becoming very popular.   We recently caught up with Blair Doucette, Woodside Farms’ in-house Holistic Nutritionist.   Her focus is on quality sourced ingredients that are close to the land.  With the idea that food should always be celebrated, she works with clients to find ways to fully enjoy food for all its flavors and health benefits.

If you stroll through our pollinator beds in the Pick Your Own area of the farm you’ll notice a large fuzzy looking plant with beautiful blue star-shaped flowers. It’s called borage and it’s been used as a medicinal plant since the days of Ancient Greece. It’s traveled through lands and cultures, even making a stop in Elizabethan England as the “herb of gladness” and was prescribed for melancholy as well as to boost courage before jousting. In traditional medicine, borage is seen as having sweet, cooling, and astringent properties – perfect to dispel the heat of a hot summer’s day. Its leaves have a cucumbery flavor when juiced or dried and used for tea and its flowers are delightfully edible. Even from just a quick observation of our pollinator beds, you can see that borage is a bee’s favorite hotspot. Its bright blue flowers attract bees from all over, giving it the nickname of “bee bread.”

Borage has been used for many purposes throughout the millennia of traditional medicine. Its leaves have been used in cold compresses to ease burns and stings. As a tea, it helps treat coughs, colds, and fevers. It’s also highly anti-inflammatory due to its extremely high omega-6 content, so it has the potential to fight arthritis complications along with easing complications from respiratory conditions. It’s also been used in traditional medicines to help support adrenal health by way of reducing stress. And we could all use a little extra support fighting stress right now.

So how to use this wonder herb? We’re glad you asked – there are so many fantastic ways to enjoy borage and all its many benefits this summer! The flowers can be used in a fancy salad mix or as decoration on top of cakes. It can also be used in soups, to make borage lemonade, borage-strawberry cocktails, as a jelly/preserve, and it can be candied! The options are almost limitless. Let us know which way you enjoy using borage!

Woodside Farms Farmstead is open every Wednesday from 4 – 7 and Saturday from 9 – Noon.  Stop by and experience the healthier and happier lifestyle offered at Chickahominy Falls!